Snacks / Appetizers

Easy Does It # 33 – Brie and Capocollo Pie


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As  I have mentioned before, I love to prepare my own pizza dough, pie dough, tortillas, fresh pasta, and a myriad of other things which are usually better (although not always) when home made.
On the other hand, sometimes this is just not very practical or sensible, for example at times when there is simply no time or space to do so.
Also, I have cooked just about anything one can cook, mostly? with good results, so I am not embarrassed to sometimes use  good- quality  convenience products, such as the crust I used for this pie. I actually bought it without a plan, just because it looked so delicious and I wanted to find out if it tastes as good and has the great texture it promised when I looked at it on the shelf in my neighborhood grocery store. Well – it did, even much better than I had expected 🙂
I absolutely love it and have used it already twice since I made this pie, once for an onion pie and once as a base for sandwiches.
It is supposed to be used for pizza, but for that, I will stick with my homemade dough for now.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Easy Does It # 33 – Brie and Capocollo Pie

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Easy Does It # 33 – Brie and Capocollo Pie

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Bella’s Fault ! (“Any Cook Can Turn Gold Into Crap, But Only A Good Cook Can Turn Crap Into Gold”)

Greek Lamb Sandwich

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So  today, at around noon, I seasoned and seared this wonderful boneless leg of lamb I bought earlier, then put it in the oven to roast it slowly until rare, let it rest a bit, then serve with a nice salad for a great lunch.
Well, THAT did not happen ! 😦
As soon as I’d put the meat in the oven, Bella insisted that we go for a walk. I thought to myself ok, just around the corner, then back to take care of lunch.
But, as soon as we started our walk, she pulled me towards the park by the lake and I forgot all about the lamb in the oven. Needless to say, when we got back 1.5 hours later, the meat was well done. After kicking myself (mentally), I cut the leg into smaller, flat pieces, wrapped them in alu-foil and put it back into the oven at 375F for another 2,5 hours, at which point the meat was very tender and almost falling apart. I let it cool off a bit, then pulled it into fine shreds with two forks, seasoned it with olive oil, kosher salt, cumin, cayenne, oregano and voilà – the perfect topping for a Greek sandwich.
When I was an apprentice, my chef, Herr Mueller, used to say about cooking:
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” Any Cook Can Turn Gold Into Crap, But Only A Good Cook Can Turn Crap Into Gold. “
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And there you have it ! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Greek Lamb Sandwich

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Greek Lamb Sandwich

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Preparation :
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Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Shepherds Pie  is such great comfort food.
Meat sauce, mashed potatoes, and cheese – who could resist ? 🙂
However, there is one flaw in shepherds pie which diminishes its enjoyment a bit for me – it is entirely soft in texture and usually, the sauce is a bit bland and the whole thing, therefore, often resembles baby food 😦
Let me come to the rescue with this new recipe.
Instead of mashing the potatoes to a puree, just break them up a bit into med-sized chunks. Adding the peppers and lots of onions and garlic to the meat sauce will further increase the taste and texture of the filling of the potato shells, which will result in a dish who’s taste still resembles shepherds pie but at the same time is so much more interesting and TASTY !
Overall, this “fully loaded” baked potato is without a doubt one of the tastiest incarnations of the lowly baked potato as well as the ordinary shepherd’s pie.
While I have prepared and created dozens of variations of twice baked potatoes over the years, some more, some less exotic, some over the top and some down to earth,  using all kinds of additions to the stuffing, such as shrimp, smoked salmon, ham, different vegetables, cheese, yogurt, herbs, etc, etc., the ones I prepared today are the very best of the best 🙂
Although very simple and easy to prepare, the texture, taste, and looks are just perfect and go to show that uncomplicated food, if done right, can take the price over complicated and elaborate any time ……..
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more Twice-Baked Potatoes  on  ChefsOpinion
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Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Twice Baked Shepherd's Potatoes

Twice Baked Shepherd’s Potatoes

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Fajas De Res

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To  prepare a great meal is no problem for most of us –
as long as there is plenty of time, money and somebody who cleans up the mess afterward.
But what if there isn’t ??  Well, how about this easy solution: Fajas De Res (Beef Fajitas)
– Cut and marinate the beef and onions: 3 minutes
– Saute the beef: 2 minutes
– Prepare the guacamole: 3 minutes
– Reheat pre-made tortillas: 2 minutes
– prepare salsa Mexicana: 4 minutes
– All in all, no more than 15 minutes for a smashing dinner. Life is Good 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Viva Mexico !
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Click here for  Salsa Mexicana Recipe  and  Guacamole Recipe  on  Chefsopinion
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For the fajas, cut beef flank into slices or batons, season with kosher salt, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic to taste, saute with sunflower oil in a VERY hot pan or comal until rare, add chopped onions, saute another minute. Serve with salsa Mexicana, guacamole, sour cream, and chilies.
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Salad Of Smoked Salmon, Avocado And Egg

Salad Of Smoked Salmon, Avocado And Egg

Salad Of Smoked Salmon, Avocado And Egg

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When I got up this morning, I had a big craving for egg salad. During the day, in my head, I kept adding ingredients to the egg salad until finally, when it was time to prepare early dinner, this yummy concoction materialized 🙂
Very simple and straightforward, yet a real delicious and pretty dish that can be enjoyed either as a salad with bread on the side or, as I did, on top of toasted bread as a sandwich that left nothing to be desired for Bella’s and my dinner.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Personally, I prefer Florida avocados over Haas avocados. Click here to read about the pros/contras of both 🙂
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Salad Of Smoked Salmon, Avocado And Egg

Salad Of Smoked Salmon, Avocado And Egg

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Preparation :
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NOT !!! The Prettiest Dish Of The Day –

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– but  without a doubt one of the tastiest dishes of the day 🙂
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Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

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Today I set out to prepare a pizza for dinner, the way I love it with very little cheese and just a bit of tomato. Then I came across this jamon serrano and brie cheese in my fridge and I thought, maybe a calzone? But I am not really a fan of the texture of a calzone, so I tried something new by mixing all the garnish into the dough before rolling it out. The result was THE BEST ….. whatever it was – Pizza? Bread? Pie? or whatever name one deems most appropriate (bread, probably?) for this sexy little thing.
At first, when I started to fold the garnish into the dough, it did not look and feel as if it would come together and I thought I just screwed it up – I should really have put it between two layers of dough (calzone style).
But after a bit of a push, it worked out just fine and although the final product would not win a beauty contest (this can easily be improved), the texture and taste were absolutely first-rate. Definitely a new standard in my ever-increasing repertoire of quirky dishes 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Pizza  on  ChefsOpinion
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Click here for  Lahmacun  and  Shrimp & Sardines Pie  on  ChefsOpinion
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Pizza Dough Recipe:

Ingredients :

A/P flour,   2 cups (plus more for kneading)
Water,   3/4 cup, warm
Active dry yeast,   1 envelope
Sugar,   1 teaspoon
Olive oil,   3 table spoon
Kosher salt,

Method :

Pour water into small bowl, mix into the yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil. Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil, knead until dough forms a sticky ball. Transfer to lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth. Dust with flour as you work the dough. Transfer to prepared a bowl; turn dough in the bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with a moist towel. Let dough rise until doubled in volume.Punch down dough. Pull dough until desired thickness and shape is achieved. If this is too difficult, roll the dough with a rolling-pin. However, in my opinion, the pizza will turn out superior if the dough is pulled.
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Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

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Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

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Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

Serrano-Ham And Brie-Cheese Bread

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Mexican Treasures – Guacamole, Escabeche De Cebolla, Salsa Mexicana

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For  me, these three condiments are not to be missed to accompany any Mexican-style meal I prepare at home. In my opinion, they also fit very well with a wide range of dishes of non-Mexican cuisine from around the world. They pair nicely with steaks, schnitzel, sandwiches, salads, meat, seafood, vegetables, eggs, etc.
In fact, I usually have at least a small bowl of one or two or sometimes all three of them in my fridge. I prep them once a week, then serve them with a variety of different dishes, be it for breakfast (without the onions), lunch or dinner.
Sometimes, just these three goodies, together with a bunch of tortillas or on a slice of toast or grilled sour dough bread, make a perfect, tasty and quick meal 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
I did not include measurements for these recipes since I believe you should add ingredients according to the ratios you personally prefer 🙂
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Mexican Treasures - Guacamole, Escabeche De Cebolla, Salsa Mexicana

Mexican Treasures – Guacamole, Escabeche De Cebolla, Salsa Mexicana

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Salsa Mexicana

Salsa Mexicana

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Guacamole

Guacamole

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Escabeche De Cebolla

Escabeche De Cebolla

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Preparation :
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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 58 – Shrimp Croissant And Fresh Fruits With Kefir And Honey

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What a wonderful way to start the day early today – a walk in the park with Bella, a great breakfast with Bella, then a great movie – “Galaxy Quest” (Bella not interested), all followed by a long nap ! (Bella enthusiastically interested again) 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more Tonkatsu  and  Donkatsu  on  ChefsOpinion
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Tonkatsu sauce  (my way) :

Mix 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tblsp soy sauce, 1 tsp garlic paste, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tblsp white wine (or sherry), 1 tsp sriracha and a few drops of maggi seasoning.

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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 58 - Shrimp Croissant And Fresh Fruits With Kefir And Honey

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 58 – Shrimp Croissant And Fresh Fruits With Kefir And Honey

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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 58 - Shrimp Croissant And Fresh Fruits With Kefir And Honey

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 58 – Shrimp Croissant And Fresh Fruits With Kefir And Honey

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Fresh Fruit With Kefir And Honey

Fresh Fruit With Kefir And Honey

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Preparation :
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Steak Salad Recipe # 91

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Today’s  dinner salad was pretty special for me, because it contained six of my favorite food items – endive, pears, Gorgonzola, garlic, shiitake mushrooms and Entraña (faux hanger steak).
While the shiitake might not seem a good fit for a salad at first glance, they turned out to be a perfect fit with the rest of the ingredients.
This salad was at the same time very rustic and very refined.
The different textures and flavors combined to be an absolute beautiful and tasty salad that can be served as main course, appetizer or snack.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Steak Salad Recipe # 91

Steak Salad Recipe # 91

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Steak Salad Recipe # 91

Steak Salad Recipe # 91

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Steak Salad Recipe # 91

Steak Salad Recipe # 91

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Preparation :
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chefs-doctors-and-allergies
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Hans’ Panzanino

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The first written recipe for  Panzanella dates to the 15th century. Originally, stale bread was soaked in water, onions added, then dressed with olive oil, salt and vinegar. This eventually morphed into the modern  Panzanella , through the addition of cucumbers and, later-on, tomatoes.
Later still, lettuce, olives, mozzarella, white wine, capers, anchovies, celery, carrots, red wine, red onion, cucumber, tuna, parsley, boiled eggs, mint, bell peppers, lemon juice, and garlic were sometimes added, although traditionalist’s still prefer the simple version of soaked bread, onions, olive oil, salt, tomatoes and sometimes fresh basil.
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The dish below is NOT panzanalla !!!
However, it shares with panzanella the rustic, vinegar and olive oil soaked bread and the fresh vegetables (and a lot of other stuff) 🙂
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Here  now is my (slightly askew and liberal) take on panzanella, sandwich and salad – all three rolled into one wonderful dish.
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Today I did not feel like cooking, so I thought I’ll have a simple “Vesper” (the Swabian word for a snack involving bread, cheese, cold cuts and sometimes onions, pickles and tomatoes)
……then I thought, why not make a nice salad of it………then I thought why not make an enriched variation of panzanella…….. then ………..
Well, here you see the final result of my back and forth considerations.
And what a great result/dish it had become. I am not sure if there was such a thing as a Panzanino in Italy before today, but in my opinion, it certainly should be from now on. Even if there was, if it does not include all the stuff you see here, it certainly would not be as splendid as the great  Hans’ Panzanino  you see here.
This dish absolutely rock’s, and for lack of a better name, I officially name it :
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“””   Hans’ Panzanino   “”””
(As in Panzanella / Panino)
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And there you have it.
A wonderful “Italian” style sandwich – born on 11/17/2016 in, of all places, Miami, Florida 🙂 🙂 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Panzanella  on  ChefsOpinion
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Hans' Panzanino

Hans’ Panzanino

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Hans' Panzanella Panino

Hans’ Panzanino

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Hans' Panzanino

Hans’ Panzanino

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Hans' Panzanella Panino

Hans’ Panzanino

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures

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